What do we mean by new models?
New models of governance are being developed regularly by communities who have found existing models wanting. Many of the traditional “hierarchical” models, for example, fail to respond to the desired kinds of “partnerships” between leaders and members. “Mutual accountability,” “co-responsibility” and “subsidiarity” are examples of values expressed by contemporary communities, but fail to be represented by traditional models. Too often leadership is experienced as pushing and prodding the members along, while members resist. We/they camps emerge as leaders and members push and pull in different directions. Leadership gets blamed for the problems and become defensive or over-functions in response.
In 2006, Dr. Ted Dunn published an article that outlines various new models of leadership and approaches to governance: “Circular models of leadership: Birthing a new way of being.” (see Circular Models and published articles). In it he describes a variety of ways in which communities are organizing in order to meet contemporary demands and represent contemporary values.
What communities are realizing is that they desire a stronger “partnership’ between leaders and members, not a we/they opposition. Ira Chaleff recently wrote a book entitled, “Courageous Followers: Standing up for our leaders.” He and many others are finding a way to express a mutual partnership between leaders and members. This is a great reframe to understand the dynamic of leaders and members as something other than competitive.